19 Years and Counting

Today is my 19th wedding anniversary – and my husband is over half a continent away!  Andrew and my older son Liam spent a few days beginning the cleaning and organization that has to take place when parents move to nursing homes. It was a rough few days, and now they’re in Chicago taking in a Cubs game (my husband is an eternal optimist) before returning home.

We may do something to celebrate later, but right now it’s important that he was back at his childhood home helping out. The day after he and Liam return, Logan and I head out to Massachusetts for a visit with my family, a replacement for the trip that got cancelled last November when Logan had an emergency appendectomy. Yup, no time for an official celebration this year…but it’s much more important to me that we’re spending time (albeit apart) with our family, which of course is the underpinnings of any marriage.

I didn’t want to let the day go by though, and just a week or two ago Jan DiCintio posted details about her wedding dress on her anniversary, so I thought I’d take a page from her book! Now, 19 years ago digital cameras did not exist, and scanning is not my strong suit, so here’s a literal snapshot from my wedding album:

So…the dress. Like most things at my wedding, I wanted something specific and special. It was something that I wasn’t finding in those wedding dress boutiques. I did NOT want shiny fabric, because the those less expensive, man-made silk-alternatives did not have the shimmer and sheen of truly fine silk satin, and I would not have been able to bring myself to spend that kind of money – IF we had it – which we didn’t!

My first time spent at the in-law’s-to-be house was over Thanksgiving the year we were engaged. My future Mother-in-law brought out a box and mentioned that if I had any use at all for yards and yards of antique, hand made lace (ooh, a very knowledgeable blogger tells me it’s bobbin lace, a lost art) , brought over from Europe through Russia on a train during WWI by great-Aunt Tressie, I was welcome to it. Um…yes!!!!! It took some searching for someone to professionally clean it, but it was cleaned and I had something like 17 yards of  about 2″ wide lace and less of some thinner lace. Here are some pictures of the dress that I took yesterday:

My step-sister who works in the garment industry had a friend (whose name I can’t remember, must ask Pam!) who made wedding dresses in her living room on nights and weekends. I sat down her with my lace and a picture in my mind of what I wanted, and together we designed my dress. After the muslin was made and fitted, she and I went fabric shopping and I settled on a very thin cotton batiste – the dress is two layers of that, then a layer of slippery something or other for support and shape. The wider lace is run around the hem and then further up with some (new) thin satin ribbon in between.

The thinner lace edges the ruffle that runs around the neckline.

My dress was just what I wanted: full of meaningful detail, made to match an image in my mind, and made of cotton, not that shiny fake stuff.

I was feeling pretty down the other day, wishing we’d spent more time with Andrew’s family, and many of you wise women pointed out to me that I should be focusing on all the good times we did spend with them. Of course, you all are right – and here’s a wonderful reminder. How awesome that my Mom-in-law-to-be had held onto this lace, and was happy to offer it to me. And how lucky was I to have an affordable seamstress available that could work magic with some well traveled lace?

Very lucky indeed! I’m looking forward to tomorrow so I can kiss my hubby!

7 Responses

  1. The lace is not tatting, it looks like it might be bobbin lace. I think bobbin lace is even more of a lost art than tatting! Beautiful, and so meaningful! Thank you for sharing.

  2. Happy Anniversary! These delicate details make all the difference. Your dress is beautiful – so light and soft. Your bangs look cute – don’t think I’ve seen you with bangs!

  3. Happy anniversary. I love the story of your wedding dress. Mine was made of shiny synthetic (satin) fabric but it was beautifully made by my grandmother from a pattern I loved.

  4. Happy Anniversary dear Candy – you’re so right, you guys can celebrate later but right now there are important things to be done. Your dress is just gorgeous, that lace is so beautiful and meaningful – and you are a knockout in it!

  5. Happy Anniversary Candy & Andrew, the dress is beautiful. All the best for the coming year(s)